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Discussion Starter #1
With our basement renovation finally making some progress, and the design of the theatre taking shape, it was finally time to decide what speakers to use in the new space. Since I will be putting them behind the AT screen, I knew I wanted three identical speakers up front. I have been planning this project for so long that I've had a lot of different speakers in mind over the years (yes, years)... NatP, Modula MTM, Dayton RS-P WWMTM, Mini Statement... I liked aspects of all of those (and many other) options, but none of them really firmly established themselves as a clear, definitive choice. At least until I discovered DIY Sound Group.

Reading about the SEOS speakers, I knew that this was going to be it. The question was "what flavour of SEOS?" I started out thinking the Fusion 6 would be the one, then moved on to basically consider nearly every model in the Fusion and Cinema lines. Some were easy to eliminate due to their large size. Then I learned that the larger SEOS horns were generally more desirable, and started to focus on that, which led me to the 88 Special. This speaker was shallow, wall mountable, praised for its clarity and output, and it used the big SEOS-15 waveguide. It seemed perfect, and I was just waiting until we got closer to starting the full project before ordering. And then I was pointed to the HTM line, which made me start all over again.

The things that I was looking for in the front stage were: first and foremost, clear and clean dialogue, good output to match a pair of 18" subs, and a depth that would fit behind a shallow 1' false wall in the screen area. The reviews of the 88 Special suggested that it was fantastic for dialogue, and speaking with Erich about my goals and needs reassured me that they would shine in my setup. Once I had checked out the HTM line a bit, which wasn't easy because they were so new that there was barely any information out on them, I became convinced that they might be a little bit better than the 88 Special, and Erich assured me that I would be happy either way. In the end I decided that I have room for the HTM-12, so I'd go for the big woofer and SEOS-15 to make sure I didn't leave any performance on the table. Once I discovered a review of a newly built HTM-10 build online, I was 100% convinced that I was making the right choice. If the 10s impressed that much, the 12s must be spectacular.

I have received my kits, and I'll try to move these along reasonably quickly, but with a 1 year old and a 3 year old at home, there isn't much time for projects. I'm very excited about these, so I'll do my best to put in build time whenever I can, and I ordered the flat packs with them so that will help immensely.

Erich and Matt have been extremely patient and helpful throughout my search, and always took time to answer my questions quickly and thoroughly. If the speakers end up half as good as the customer service experience has been, I'm in for a treat. Thanks again guys.

Here are a few pics... the 5 boxes (I also ordered eight Volt-6 speakers for surround and ceiling duty) going into my car for the drive across the border, Erich's legendary packing, and a baby for scale of the HTM-12 baffle.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Prof! It's slow going chipping away each night... but I'll just call it a "relaxing pace".

Last night I got some good crossover work in, and have most of the components glued down to the boards. I think everything looks right (minus the missing 2 caps per board), but I want to look at it with fresh eyes before I start to solder. All these little jobs really add up to take a lot of time! I still have to zip tie the larger components, then solder, and then the boards will basically be done, and I can move on to cabinet assembly.

If anyone sees a major red flag, let me know before it's too late!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Tonto! No pics today, I didn't get enough done!

Prof, I kind of know what you mean. Working with the printed boards from mtg90 was a downright pleasure. I haven't soldered them yet, but it looks like it will be a snap.

Baby steps last night and a little bit of progress. I got the bracing glued into 2 of the 3 speakers, but had to stop before I got to the third. Hopefully I'll get that together tonight, even though we have kids activities and then I have an appointment later in the evening. Then I hope to get the top/bottom/sides on all the enclosures over the weekend.
 

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No problemo, that's why we call this an addiction...I mean a hobby, yeah, that's it, a hobby! Just post pics as they come, we'll still be here waiting. Can't wait to hear your impressions.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A little bit of weekend progress. With pics for Tonto! :)

The cabinets are now fully assembled, except for the front baffles. It was a bit of a grind, starting with tops and bottoms, and doing one speaker at a time due to lack of a decent workspace, and lack of clamps. I know I have more, but I have to collect some I had loaned out. It can't be said enough... you can NEVER have too many clamps. So, first was tops and bottoms for 1, 2, 3. Then on Sunday I managed to get the sides on all of them too.

I don't think my method or technique was too bad, but they all have a bit of a lip here and there, with some panel overlap. Nothing serious, and I think I have good solid glue joints, so it will just mean a little bit of cleanup sanding before the baffle goes on, and then some good filling and sanding before finishing, as usual.

You can see in a couple of the pics that I reversed a clamp to use as a spreader across the vertical centerline of the enclosure. I might have clamped a bit too hard when doing the tops and bottoms, which forced those panels a bit out of true. Just enough that it would make more work in the finishing stage, so I applied a tiny bit of spreading pressure on the centre brace and it came back in line nicely with the sides when I got them all clamped up.

I ran out of glue pretty early on, so I made a quick run out to Canadian Tire and thought I'd give this stuff a try. Elmer's Pro Bond Max. It goes on nice, and has a good amount of working time before it starts to set. Which is handy when I'm doing 2 panels at a time before I can tighten all the clamps. It looks/feels almost a bit like a glue with some MDF particles suspended in it. Not gritty at all, but a bit different than the Titebond / Gorilla / Straight Elmer's wood glue I had used before. So far I like it.

So next up for this week is to sand the edges flat for the bezel, finish crossovers, finalize a mounting location, and then I guess wait for my eBay binding posts. I forgot to add them to my order from Erich. I'm proud of myself for at least putting a little time in just about every day so far. Gotta keep up the momentum.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Prof! The cabinets will be super plain as far as finish goes. They'll be behind the screen so they don't have to be beautiful. I have a new gallon of flat black paint ready to go after filling, sanding, and priming. I'm not going to spend a ton of time on them, but I do want to get a good clean finish at least for the paint. Here's a link to a pic of the binding posts from the eBay seller. I hope they'll work out OK.



More small steps done. All I had time to do lately was clean up the boxes with a little sanding. The edges on the face of the enclosure where the front baffle will attach were off by little bits on most of the joints, so I wanted to get a nice flat surface for gluing. I couldn't find my random orbital, so I went old school.

I tried to be careful when taking the lips off not to round the edges over too much but there was definitely a little bit of that in areas where I had to do heavy sanding, which shows in the closeup. While I was at it, I also cleaned up the outside corners and edges so there will be less filler involved in the final product. I started in the garage which was a terrible idea, before I moved out to my "mobile sanding base" a.k.a. the folding work table on the sidewalk.
 

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I have now completed the crossovers, except for the wiring which I'll do tonight. I won't show pics of my soldering, because it started out pretty ugly, and only got marginally better by the end. I'm fairly confident that it will work, but it is far from pretty. I was used to doing much smaller connections, and was having trouble getting the little solder mounds to keep from "collapsing" in on themselves around the stems. By the end I mostly figured out the technique, but it was pretty fiddly.

I couldn't mount the boards yet, because I couldn't find my small zip ties, but I think I have a good location for them. I started to cut and lay out the Ultratouch, which is pretty nice to work with. It turns out one bag is just about the exact right amount for an HTM-12 cabinet, so the 3 bags I have will be perfect. I plan to mount the crossovers on the side of the enclosure, and basically line the inner cabinet with the insulation. I think I remember reading that it was OK to run a layer of it right over the crossover, but I wanted to make sure. I played around a bit with the lining, and have a few options below. the last piece will either go up and over the crossover and line the full side, (pretend the crossover is mounted in that last pic) or along the bottom under the ports and just up to the crossover on the side. I wasn't sure if the lining on the bottom might help to minimize any resonance in the ports, since it would be fairly snug under them.

Hopefully tonight I'll be able to...
- install the crossover wires
- do a quick sound check on each board
- mount the boards
- line all 3 cabinets
- glue and clamp the front baffles

I'm eager to start finishing these, and am still on pace for having them done by Christmas if I don't run into many delays. I did a test fit of the waveguide last night, and it is TIGHT. I'll have to sand a little bit of material out of the inner recessed area before finishing.

** Shoot, I just remembered that I still have to wait for the binding posts to arrive. I guess I could go ahead with finishing and sort of wing it when they arrive... we'll see. **
 

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Well, turns out my list above was a bit ambitious. Lol. That night I got the zip ties done on all boards, and I think I did the wires on one. Last night I was able to buckle down a bit more, and get a few other things checked off the list.

I added all wires. I would have preferred to use nice black/red wires, but this was what I had on hand. Still easy to identify. Then it was time to get excited, because I could hook up the guts and give them a first test listen. At first I just connected everything on the bench. (NOTE: please ignore my current disaster zone work area. This is in the basement which we're currently trying to empty out to get ready for construction. Which means there's junk everywhere as we sort through it all.) The first pic shows that setup, and everything seemed to work properly but it was pretty tough to get an idea of the actual sound. Free air woofers definitely leave some to be desired, so I figured I'd pop a baffle on and test them in place. They definitely sounded better, but I wasn't able to go too loud since it was coming up on 11:00 and everyone else was in bed.

Once I was sure everything sounded right, I did a full layout with the ultratouch, found the best spot for the crossover, taking into consideration the ports and the binding posts I'll need to add, and then marked for pre-drilling. I decided to use Kreg pocket hole screws to mount the boards, because of the large flat head. But I only had 1 1/4" screws, which would have poked out the side of the box, so I added a rubber washer on top of the board and standoffs, which I think will work great. I didn't have time to cut and staple all the insulation in the other boxes, but all crossovers are mounted, and I'm ready to finish that up tonight.

I'm pretty sure I can attach the front baffles after that, and manage the binding post installation through the woofer cutout. I think they're pretty standard binding posts, but I haven't installed anything but terminal cups before. With the ones from my pic a few posts back is there any reason not to go ahead and close up the fronts? I'll still have a good amount of room to work, and I'll be that much closer to filling, sanding, priming, and painting.
 

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Thanks Prof, I'm interested to see what the sound is like for me too. I've had a pair of Paradigm towers for over 10 years now tht I'm very used to, and these will sound very different, I can tell just from the test.

The HTM-12 crosses over from the Eminence Deltalite 12" woofer to the Denovo DNA-325 compression driver at 1,400Hz. It's higher than the 88 Specials I was originally looking at (which cross at 950Hz!), which was said to be a big asset for dialogue. I don't know much about crossover design, so I'm trusting the experts on this one, and I'm sure they'll also shine in that application.
 

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We're picking up steam now! Last night I continued with insulation which went very smoothly. I have to say again how nice the Ultratouch is to work with, it made things easy. So, all 3 cabinets lined, with the rear panel on the crossover side just tacked into place at one end. This way I can flip it up to do the binding posts and then pop a few more staples in when that's done.

I figured I might as well go ahead with the baffles, even though my Christmas deadline is basically impossible now. That's OK, it was just a "loose" deadline. Since I had 7 clamps on hand at the moment, it meant I could only do one at a time, so I put one together last night, and then snuck down this morning before showering and heading to work to glue up a second while everyone else was asleep. 2 of 3 cabinets are done, and I'll get the 3rd baffle glued early this afternoon, since I'm in for a half day.

They will all need a preliminary sanding, then a cleanup and treatment with some filler, which I hope to tackle tomorrow. Things are going to be tight because we're having people over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day, and I will have a lot of household work and prep to help out with too. I'll try to get a little done each day, and I think it will be reasonable to say I can have these all finished up by New Year's Day.
 

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Let's just ignore all my previous schedules and timelines, OK? Turns out getting work done over the holidays was pretty much impossible, so I just got a chance to do a little bit last night. I got a nice little cordless sander for Christmas, which was great because I have no idea where my old corded one was. What was less great was the fact that the 2 batteries I had were maybe half charged at best, so I had just enough juice to get all the edges done on one speaker before they both gave up on me. It could have been worse.

The edges on this one are all nice and clean now, so I slopped some filler along the joints. This stuff isn't very happy working out in the cold garage, but I made do and got a coat all around. Between the pallet of flooring for the basement and the pile of Christmas recycling that keeps growing, there isn't much room to work in my little single car these days, but it will be my new base of operations to get the speakers finished.

I'll go at it again tonight hopefully, with 2 fully charged batteries and see if I can get both remaining cabinets sanded and filled. We'll see how the batteries last, I did read some comments that the sander chews through them quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm chipping away, Prof... one little bit at a time!

Last night was sanding and filling part 2 (of 3). Got a little more done, but even with 2 full batteries I didn't get completely finished. I was able to get most of the baffle lip off, and I even went at it with the sandpaper to get the rest of it close after my batteries died. Now I just need to give the 3rd speaker a final once-over, and some light fill.

I should be good to at least get them primed this weekend. We have zero New Years Eve plans, and we're keeping it that way. If things go smoothly I might even get to put a coat of paint on. I'll probably do 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint and call them done. Still waiting on binding posts, but those can be added after the finish dries.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Happy New Year, everyone!

Basically a "nothing" update today, because I took a break from building over the holiday and either spent time with the boys, or relaxing with my wife instead of freezing my fingers off in the garage. I finished filling and sanding, and it seems like the enclosures came out pretty clean. I had a few small low spots filled in (from over- or under-sanding) and most of the filler left is just sitting in the little pits where I didn't have 100% fill in the glue joints at the outside edge. They might look a bit ugly still, but they're generally baby's-butt smooth. And not caked with filler either, which I like.

I did manage to get a coat of primer on all 3 enclosures, but didn't move on to either a second coat or actual paint. I think I'll skip the 2nd coat of primer and just go straight to paint, and do either 2 or 3 coats if required.

I'll get back to work this week and start painting for real. I'm thinking a small foam roller to minimize texture, we'll see how that works out. Still waiting on binding posts, so I don't feel like I have to push. (also, I don't really have anywhere to put these till the theatre is built in like a year... but you know, priorities.)
 

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